EDWARD LAPHAM

Why the 2012 Truck of the Year will get some pushback

Edward Lapham is executive editor of Automotive News.Edward Lapham is executive editor of Automotive News.
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It's a tough, demanding job being one of the 50 independent jurors for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.

I enjoy driving and evaluating all of the new vehicles. But this time of year -- after we've all voted and narrowed the field to three finalists for each award -- we jurors get pushback from folks who disagree with the three choices.

This year there is bound to be a lot of carping about the three finalists for North American Truck of the Year: the BMW X3, Honda CR-V and Range Rover Evoque, none of which is what I consider a real truck.

Here's a news flash: That's not our fault because there weren't any new or substantially changed trucks introduced this year. There were just seven vehicles in the truck category, all dandy SUVs or CUVs, but no real trucks.

On the other hand, there was a cornucopia of great, new passenger cars.

Not everyone will agree with the three finalists -- the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat -- but you can't argue with the quality and variety of new cars introduced with superb fuel economy.

Don't fret. Trucks will make a comeback some other year.

But for the 2012 North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists, the market dynamic has changed.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com.

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